By Jay Mejia
Lee’s Summit city councilmembers participated in a semiannual retreat Thursday evening to discuss governance and how the elected body can work more closely together to create positive outcomes for the community.
"We’re here to design systems that will enable the council to make healthy decisions for Lee’s Summit," said Ron Holifield, CEO of Strategic Government Resources, who moderated the retreat held at City Hall. "It’s also important for this group to understand and agree on best practices to obtain data from city staff that will lead for well-informed council policy and enforcement."
Council members agreed that the top priority for the group is to set priorities and direction for the city.
"We’re at a pivotal moment for the city," said Mayor Pro Tem Allan Gray. "It’s important that we get to know each other so that we can discuss issues instead of politics and treat each other and the public with dignity and respect."
As the group conversed about their backgrounds, each of the councilmembers shared personal history that many people in Lee’s Summit may not be aware of:
• Mayor Pro Tem Allan Gray, District 2, lived through two military coups growing up in Nigeria.
• Bob Johnson, District 1, tried out as a second baseman for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
• Derek Holland, District 3, was raised by his mother and grandmother in the close-knit town of Mountain Grove, MO.
• Diane Seif, District 3, raised and showed longhaired dachshunds.
• Rob Binney, District 3, rode 35 miles last weekend in a fund-raising campaign.
• Trisha Carlye, District 2, started her first adult job as a mechanic.
• Mayor Randy Rhoads was a junior high wrestler.
• Dave Mosby, District 4, will be rowing in a fund-raising canoe race from Kansas City to St. Louis in July.